A stroke is a potentially fatal disorder that develops when there is insufficient blood flow to a certain area of the brain. The most frequent causes of this are a blocked artery or brain hemorrhage. The brain cells in that region start to die from a lack of oxygen if there isn’t a constant flow of blood.
Ischemia and hemorrhage are the two main causes of strokes.
- Cells experience ischemia. When there is insufficient blood flow to provide them with oxygen. This typically occurs as a result of anything obstructing the blood vessels in your brain, stopping the flow of blood. The majority of strokes, or 80% of all strokes, are ischemic strokes.
- Clot development in the brain
- A piece of a blood clot that developed in another part of your body that escapes and travels through your blood vessels until it becomes lodged in your brain.
- Having a long-term, untreated high blood pressure condition (hypertension), high cholesterol level (hyperlipidemia), or high blood sugar level (Type 2 diabetes) might result in small artery blockage (lacunars stroke).
- Unknown causes (these strokes are cryptogenic)
Your brain may bleed during hemorrhagic strokes. One of two things can cause this:
- Intracerebral bleeding means bleeding inside your brain. It takes place when a blood vessel within the brain bursts or tears, resulting in bleeding that increases pressure on the nearby brain tissue.
- Bleeding into the subarachnoid space, which is the region of the brain that lies beneath its protective layer. Your brain is encased in the arachnoids membrane, a thin layer of tissue with a pattern resembling a spider web. The subarachnoid space is the region that lies between it and your brain. A subarachnoid hemorrhage, which involves bleeding into the subarachnoid space and placing pressure on the brain tissue below, can be brought on by damage to blood vessels that pass through the arachnoids membrane.
Your brain is divided into several functional regions, thus the symptoms of a stroke vary depending on which region is afflicted. A stroke that affects your brain’s Broca’s region, which governs how your facial and mouth muscles work when you talk, is an illustration of this. Because of this, some persons who experience a stroke talk clumsily or with difficulty.
The symptoms of stroke can involve one or more is:
- One-sided weakness or paralysis
- Slurred or garbled speaking
- Loss of muscle control on one side of your face
- Sudden loss — either partial or total — of one or more senses (vision, hearing, smell, taste and touch)
- Blurred or double vision (diplopia)
- Loss of coordination or clumsiness (ataxia)
- Dizziness or vertigo
- Nausea and vomiting
- Neck stiffness
- Emotional instability and personality changes
- Confusion or agitation
- Memory loss (amnesia)
- Passing out or fainting
Hemorrhagic and ischemic strokes can occur for a variety of reasons. Blood clots are typically the cause of ischemic strokes. These can occur for a number of causes, including:
- Clotting conditions
- Atrial fibrillation, particularly when brought on by sleep apnea.
- Heart defects (ventricular or atrial septal defects).
- Micro vascular ischemic disease (which may obstruct brain’s tiny blood channels).
- High blood pressure, especially when you have it for a long time, when it’s very high, or both.
- Brain aneurysms can sometimes lead to hemorrhagic strokes.
- Brain tumors
- Diseases that weaken or cause unusual changes in blood vessels in your brain, such as moyamoya disease
You can take a variety of actions to lower your chance of having a stroke. Even if you can’t actually prevent a stroke, you can reduce your risk. You can do the following:
Improve your lifestyle: Your health can be improved by eating a balanced diet and include exercise in your regular routine. Additionally, make sure you receive enough rest.
Avoid risky lifestyle choices or make changes to your behaviors: Your chance of having a stroke can be increased by smoking, using tobacco products, including vaping, using recreational drugs or abusing prescription medications, and abusing alcohol. Stopping or never starting them is crucial.
Manage your health conditions and risk factors: Obesity, irregular heartbeats, sleep apnea, high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, or high cholesterol are a few diseases that can raise your chance of suffering an ischemic stroke.